We all want to do better with cross selling, right? Yet all too often, the campaigns fall short of our expectations.
A fair argument may be that our goals are too aggressive. On the other hand, when you look at data that tells you that the average consumer has seven banking products yet only two are likely to be with the same financial institution, you’d think that cross selling would be a greenfield of opportunities.
Sure, there are lots of reasons why a customer doesn’t take you up on a cross-selling offer. However, after looking more carefully at cross selling from a business and IT perspective, there are three main reasons why many campaigns deliver lower-than- expected ROI.
- A one size fits all approach. A common scenario that happens during the campaign brainstorming process is to think about a creative offer and present it to all of your customers. Hence, the flood of expensive banner ads and glossy direct mail pieces.
While a lot of customers may be exposed to the campaign through these marketing vehicles, many of those eyeballs will glaze over because the messages don’t speak to their current needs. In turn, this causes the average cost per lead to skyrocket.
At the root of the problem is a dearth of targeted offers. This is ironic when you consider that we’re sitting on mounds of data that can tell us a lot about our members’ history. Based on this information, we should be able to spot trends and figure out which product is most suitable for their short- and long-term financial needs.
For example, regular payments on a credit card without additional purchases may signal a member that could be in the market for a credit card with a lower APR. A series of auto repair bills and car rental charges could indicate an auto loan may be in the near future.
When you start to think about the reasons behind the transactions, you can begin to segment your customers and create personalized offers that will improve your cross-selling results.
- Relying solely on marketing to drive campaigns. While cross-selling campaigns are primarily created and driven by your marketing pros, consider how much more effective the results would be if you assembled a cross-functional team that included marketing, customer service, sales and information technology.
This may sound a bit unorthodox at first yet consider the value in pooling all of this collective knowledge. A cross-functional team will allow you to combine customer feedback and data with creative marketing to better understand the needs of your members from very different and highly insightful perspectives.
- Knowing how and when to ask the right questions. Sure, we invest in training our customer service reps on cross-selling techniques and this has proven effective to a certain degree. Still, knowing how and when to ask the right questions is both an art and a science.
From the credit union’s perspective, it makes sense to pursue a cross-selling path when you’re speaking directly with the customer either at a branch or on the phone. Yet from a member’s perspective, there can be many reasons why they may not be receptive to the pitch. For this reason, cross selling requires a delicate balance of asking the right question at the right time in the right place.
Since it’s not always easy to manifest this ideal live scenario, consider alternative paths to reaching out to your members on their terms. One of the best places to do this is through the online banking channel. While you want to avoid those annoying pop-ups and banner ads, you can use the banking portal as way to ask optional yet targeted questions that reflect their future purchases.
For example, based on the scenarios above, what if you asked a member if they’d like to lower their monthly credit card bills or if they’re planning to buy a car in the near future. You’ll have a higher response rate if the questions are optional, private and speak directly to the needs of your members.
Along these lines, USAlliance recently ran a series of cross-selling campaigns online using technology from Micronotes and was able to see our best results to date in comparison with other marketing tactics.
Cross selling will continue to be both a challenge and a priority for credit unions. Yet if you take a closer look at your current marketing efforts and rethink how you approach the process, you’ll be able to boost your campaign results.